If you’re thinking about a facelift Before and After photos are something you’ll want to see. No doubt, as you look at the big improvements facelift procedures can make, you’ll wonder how good your results could be. You’ll probably also want to know: How long do facelifts last? How long facelift results last depends on several factors. We’ll consider some of them and discuss what you can do to keep your younger look for years.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Brian Machida is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon with an unusually high level of experience. In his career he has performed more than 4,000 facelifts, beside other cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures. He taught facial plastic surgery for years at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. He now practices at STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario, Inland Empire, California.
The Mayo Clinic states on its website:
In general, a face-lift can be expected to last 10 years.
In the more than 4,000 facelifts I’ve done, that has often been my experience as well. However, there are several things that can get in the way of long-lasting results. We’ll consider some of them first.
What can get in the way of long-lasting results?
How long do facelifts last? A good procedure tightens sagging facial muscles and removes excess skin, providing attractive, natural-looking results. Firm face and neck muscles don’t do much good when covered with drooping skin. So, an important way to enjoy your great results longer is to take very good care of your skin. Failing to do that can shorten how long your facelift lasts.
Science and experience have uncovered factors that can make your facelift before and after results fade, primarily by harming your skin. Here are a few:
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Ultraviolet light can substantially reduce the levels of vital skin proteins like collagen and elastin. Collagen forms the foundation of healthy skin. Elastin keeps your skin firm and supple. Too little collagen and elastin will make your skin sag.
So, before and after your facelift, you’ll want to use a good sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) every day.
A good general rule is: Wear sunscreen, at least on your face and neck, every time you’re going to be outdoors.
Smoking and vaping reduces how long facelift lasts
We’ve all heard about the dangers of smoking. Yet, more teens start every year. If you need motivation to quit or need to convince your kids to avoid smoking or vaping, here’s another great reason: Smoking will make you look old long before your time.
The Mayo Clinic says:
Smoking can speed up the normal aging process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles and other changes to the appearance of your face. These changes include crow’s-feet, pronounced lines between the eyebrows, uneven skin complexion, a grayish tone on lighter skin, deep creases and puffiness below the eyes, wrinkles around the mouth, and thinner lips.
Facial plastic surgeons like me will almost never perform a procedure on someone who actively uses tobacco. That’s because nicotine reduces blood flow to your skin. Using nicotine while recovering from surgery is asking for trouble – and poor results.
Unfortunately, even if you quit smoking or vaping, some skin damage persists. The Mayo Clinic further comments:
A number of chemicals trigger molecular events that remodel or damage structures necessary for skin elasticity and health. These same factors may also result in decreased ability of the skin to repair wounds such as cuts or scrapes, resulting in a greater risk of wound infection and scarring.
How long facelift results last for you may depend, in part, on how long and how much you smoked. Your great facelift before and after experience may not last as long if tobacco was a regular part of your life.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption can bring on premature aging
Drinking is common in our society, and a glass of wine or beer can be enjoyable. Studies have found that light to moderate drinking is not associated with premature aging, according to the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. In contrast, enjoying too much alcohol exacts a toll on your good looks.
Healthline points out:
- Alcohol can cause a host of problems when it comes to the skin, including redness, puffiness, loss of collagen, and wrinkles.
- Alcohol depletes your nutrients, hydration, and vitamin A levels, all of which have a direct impact on wrinkles.
How much alcohol is too much when you’re trying to maintain your attractive facelift before and after results? Research cited in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology reveals:
In heavy drinkers (i.e., those who consumed eight or more drinks per week), seven facial features were significantly associated with an appearance of more severe aging than in women who did not consume alcohol.
If you’ve had a facelift and want to make your results last, it’s clearly wise to limit your drinking to one drink per day and seven drinks per week. You’ll not only feel better, you’ll look better.
High blood sugar can alter your Facelift Before and After experience
We’ve heard a lot about avoiding too much sugar. Here’s one thing you might not have heard:
Too much sugar can make your skin sag.
In fact, cosmetic dermatologists call this Sugar Sag. University of Texas Clinical Professor Dr. Rajani Katta explains:
When your blood sugar rises, a chemical process called glycation takes place. This results in the production of compounds called advanced glycation end products, fittingly known as AGEs. These “sticky” compounds act to cross-link collagen fibers. If you think of your collagen fibers as a strong net that bounces back easily, then you can imagine what happens when that net starts to get tangled up: it starts to sag, and it doesn’t bounce back as well. In the skin, that translates to a loss of skin elasticity, with wrinkling and sagging skin.
If you have or develop Type 2 Diabetes, high blood sugar levels can be a daily occurrence. This could well make your great facelift before and after experience shorter than you’d like.
Weight Loss Surgery can affect how long facelift lasts
Weight loss surgery can do wonders for your figure and your overall health. But obesity followed by bariatric surgery can negatively impact your skin. Healthline reports:
When skin has been significantly stretched and remains that way for a long period of time, collagen and elastin fibers become damaged. As a result, they lose some of their ability to retract.
What’s more, researchers report that patients who have weight loss surgery form less new collagen, and the composition is inferior compared with the collagen in young, healthy skin.
Any time you lose a lot of weight you’ll want to consult with a facial plastic or plastic surgeon. Excess skin can make you look old and tired. But you’ll need to be aware that your results may not last as long as someone who was not in a similar situation.
Heredity helps determine how long facelift results will last
As you can see, the amount and quality of collagen and elastin in your skin will make a big difference in how long a facelift will last for you. Some people naturally have higher levels of good quality proteins in their skin. Some, due to genetics, produce less or lower quality proteins. Along with the factors mentioned above, your personal DNA can make a real difference in how long your personal facelift before and after experience lasts. Is there anything you can do about it?
Make your facelift before and after experience last longer
There are several things you can do to make your great facelift results last longer. Clearly, avoiding smoking, vaping, excess alcohol, and too much sugar will help – probably a lot. Eventually, your natural decline in collagen and elastin will show itself. But wearing sunscreen every day can avoid speeding up the aging process.
As we discussed in “Can Food Fight Wrinkles and Aging Skin?” your diet can make a big difference in keeping your skin firm and healthy. An in-depth analysis of over a dozen studies showed that one key nutrient – flavanol – can actually roll back some wrinkles. Flavanol is found in many foods, particularly natural cocoa, green tea, and red wine. It has even been found to help lower blood pressure and improve arteries damaged by diabetes.
So, if you enjoy coffee in the morning and a drink in the evening, making mocha with natural (not Dutch or alkali processed) cocoa and having one glass of red wine a day could help you enjoy a longer and better facelift before and after experience.
Cosmetic procedures like laser or Renuvion resurfacing can refresh your face and stimulate collagen and elastin production. This tightens and improves skin quality.
How long does a facelift last? As you can see, several factors enter into that answer. Many of them are in your hands. If you’re in Inland Empire, California and would like to know more about how to enjoy the best facelift before and after experience, you can find me at STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario.